KUALA LUMPUR: Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Seri Salleh Said Keruak has praised Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak for “rebranding” Umno, saying the party has gained the people’s favour because of its leaders’ readiness to listen to them.
He Najib had also stripped Umno of ultra-nationalism and communalism.
“As a brilliant political architect, Najib rebranded Umno not only cosmetically but in terms of values, practices, lateral thinking and culture.
“It must be realised that Umno is liked not because of its rhetoric but because its leaders are always ready to listen to the people,” he said in a blog post last night.
He said Umno had previously been viewed as elitist, communalist, conservative, ultra-nationalist, and autocratic, and all about factions and money politics.
Many political analysts had predicted that Umno and Barisan Nasional would lose their power, similar to the fate of the LDP in Japan, Kuomintang in Taiwan, Golkar in Indonesia and Congress in India, he added.
“But that is the old Umno, which was created by Tun (Dr) Mahathir (Mohamad) according to his thinking and style of leadership.
“Mahathir’s legacy was so immense that ‘Mahathirism’ is remembered for its ‘government knows all’, which is no longer relevant to contemporary politics,” he said.
He rubbished the claims by some that Najib’s appointment as prime minister would be “the return of Mahathirism”.
“Obviously, the claim is unfounded. For Najib, the ‘government knows best era is over’. In fact, Najib has introduced political transformation by abolishing the Internal Security Act and amending the laws that restricted the rights of the people.
“He also takes care of the welfare of all races, without being a communalist. With this transformation, there’s no question that Umno under the leadership of Najib is a party that truly upholds the principle of the people’s sovereignty,” he said. – Bernama